field work

Jessica Stanley

Field Work by Jessica Stanley currently on show/ under construction at Wide Open Road Art.

A poetic topograph, using language to sculpt an image of nature in process.
An anti-monument in reverence of a living Universe.
A temporary dusting that will fragment into millions of particles, dispersed by the wind, rain, and time.

Diatomaceous Earth is created from ancient fossilised remains of diatoms, microscopic single celled aquatic organisms. When they die, vast quantities of diatom’s silica shells accumulate on the sea floor as ‘ooze’. A bed up to several hundred metres thick of ooze forms into diatomite rock over millennia, containing unfathomable quantities of compacted microscopic diatoms. This is mined, crush, fired, and ground to create Diatomaceous Earth – and used in wine, beer and water filtration, an ingredient in toothpaste, as a natural insecticide, and in many agricultural and building product applications. Diatomite is also sometimes found on desert surfaces: its erosion into aerosol particles is one of the most important sources of climate-affecting dust in the atmosphere. Twenty seven million tonnes of diatom dust fertilises the Amazon basin annually, transported by transatlantic winds from the Sahara.

Living diatoms are among the most important and prolific aquatic organisms: constituting nearly half of the organic mass in our oceans, and generating around 20% of the oxygen produced on our planet each year. Anatomically, they are the only known organism on Earth to have cell walls composed of transparent, opaline silica. They are the most diverse algae on Earth, with an estimated 20,000 – 2,000,000 variations, each with their own symmetrical form and intricate, striking pattern. Diatoms have existed for at least 135 million years.

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